Mini marketing tutorial: Call to action

Sarah Austin

We love a “buzzword” or acronym in the marketing world, we just can’t help ourselves.

“KPI”… “SEO”… “CRM”… have we lost you yet?

Here’s one that everyone should know about, no matter what industry you work in.

CTA. It means “call to action”.

A call to action is a statement designed to get an immediate response from the person reading or hearing it. It’s used in business as part of a marketing strategy to get your target market to respond through action.

It’s generally used at the end of a sales pitch (e.g. sales letter or advertisement – print or online) to inform potential customers of the next steps if they’re interested in what you offer. Basically, an action to produce more customers.

It seems obvious to let people know the next step in doing business with you, but the truth is, many new business owners don’t have calls to action in their marketing and sales pitches and there are a couple of reasons for this:

1) They genuinely believe that their potential customer (prospect) already knows what to do if they’re interested in learning more, or

2) They are concerned that calls to action are too obnoxious (how very British!) and will annoy or even turn away the potential customer.


Whatever the reason, leaving CTAs out of your marketing materials can mean losing money. Calls to action are essential in directing someone to the next step of the sales process. They are designed to generate “leads” (an individual or organisation interested in your products or services), which can then be qualified by the sales team (i.e. discover if the lead is actually a “prospect” – someone who has the potential to become a paying customer!)

There is certain best practice for creating strong calls to action that will generate leads. For example:

  1. Use action words
  2. Create urgency and scarcity
  3. Minimise risk
  4. Focus on value
  5. Invite readers inside
  6. Get personal
  7. Foster curiosity and anticipation
  8. Avoid friction words
  9. Show benefits and social proof

Here are just a few examples of bad CTA copy:

  • Click here
  • Download
  • Submit
  • Enter
  • Request
  • Continue

And some good… a CTA needs to reflect a benefit – an action that your audience wants to complete.

For example:

  • Get My eBook
  • Stay Connected
  • Join the Fun
  • Let’s Talk
  • Give Me More
  • Watch Right Now

Remember, the call to action is a key ingredient to any effective marketing program. Conversions, revenue, business and profit — they all depend on the mighty call to action. For more help in defining CTA’s for your business and where to use them, give Profit Monkey a shout. We can help guide you through the process to start generating more revenue.